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College of Engineering Alumni E-News May 2010

Doug Jacobson with 2 grad studentsThis month in INNOVATEonline

Research in Bong Wie’s Asteroid Deflection Research Center blows by Bruce Willis in Busting Armageddon…ChemE alumnus Mike McBreen walks the walk for corporate social responsibility in A Mile in His Shoes…and two grad students in information assurance make a deal with Uncle Sam to become Defenders at the Digital Frontier…all new for May in INNOVATEonline! Subscribe to the RSS feed to get the latest content.

College places in top 25 percent of U.S. News graduate school rankings

The College of Engineering ranks No. 45 in the U.S.News & World Report’s 2011 edition of America’s Best Graduate Schools, placing it in the top 25 percent of all engineering graduate programs. It ranks 25th among public institutions. Six of the college’s eight graduate programs ranked in the top 20 among programs at public universities. The rankings are Biological/Agricultural Engineering--6th overall, 5th among publics; Materials Engineering--26th overall, 15th among publics; Industrial/Manufacturing Engineering--26th overall, 18th among publics; Aerospace/Aeronautical/Astronautical Engineering--27th overall, 19th among publics; Chemical Engineering--30th overall, 19th among publics; Civil Engineering--31st overall, 20th among publics; Electrical/Electronic/Communications Engineering--38th overall, 23rd among publics; and Mechanical Engineering--43rd overall, 25th among publics. (Rankings news link)

Rah Aggarwal photoAggarwal appointed to adjunct position, research directorship

The College of Engineering has appointed Raj Aggarwal, a former Rockwell Collins executive, as adjunct professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECpE) and managing director of advanced research and technology. Aggarwal’s work as adjunct professor will consist primarily of departmental and college service, including his continued assistance with the ECpE department’s external advisory board in seeking and recruiting new members. In the role of managing director, Aggarwal will raise the national and international visibility of the engineering college in areas such as sustainability, energy, information and decision sciences, biosciences, and critical infrastructure. (Aggarwal news link)

Solar car teamTeam PrISUm prepares for 2010 race

Iowa State’s solar car team is busy preparing for the 2010 North American Solar Car Challenge. The race is scheduled to start on June 20 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and end June 26 in Naperville, Illinois. Check out the PrISUm Solar Car Team website to learn all about how the team designed and built the car, which is named Anthelion. Additional race details will be provided in the June alumni e-news.

College web goes mobile

News, video, and Innovate content from the College of Engineering can now be accessed at The mobile site is also featured as one of the selections at the university’s mobile site, Be sure to bookmark those pages on your mobile device to keep pace with what’s happening in the college.

Tom Daniels Lab photoECpE professor uses Wii Remotes™ to teach engineering

Tom Daniels, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, has figured out how to use Wii Remotes™ as a teaching tool in introductory computer engineering courses. He said the game controllers are a great way to teach students to collect, process, and use data. (Daniels news link)

Ten engineering students/alumni awarded NSF fellowships

The number of National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship winners with ties to Iowa State has increased steadily since 2004. This year marks the highest number yet, with ten students who are currently attending or previously graduated from Iowa State being honored. Three of the winners have chosen to pursue their graduate studies at Iowa State. (NSF fellowships news link)

Monica Lamm photoResearchers prepare for Blue Waters supercomputer

Monica Lamm, CBE assistant professor and associate scientist at Ames Laboratory, is part of an Iowa State University team that is developing computational chemistry at the petascale. The team is preparing for the most powerful supercomputer in the world, Blue Waters, which is expected to come online in 2011. Blue Waters is being developed as a joint effort of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, its National Center for Supercomputing Applications, IBM, and the Great Lakes Consortium for Petascale Computation, which includes Iowa State. (Blue Waters news link)

ECpE introduces online graduate certificate programs

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering is introducing three new online graduate certificate programs: a Software Systems Graduate Certificate, a Computer Networking Graduate Certificate, and an Embedded Systems Graduate Certificate. The programs are designed to enhance the technical skills of industry professionals as well as their competitiveness in the job market. Students can receive a certificate in as little as nine months by taking two courses a semester. (ECpE news link)

Jerry Posakony photoEE alum awarded the AAES John Fritz Medal

Jerry Posakony (BSEE’49), a scientist at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), has been honored by the American Association of Engineering Societies (AAES) for his pioneering contributions to the fields of ultrasonics, medical diagnostic ultrasound, and nondestructive evaluation technologies. AAES awarded the John Fritz Medal, which is considered the highest award in the engineering profession for scientific achievement, at the AAES awards ceremony in April. (PNNL news release) Photo Courtesy: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Rockwell Collins offers grants to support FLL and FTC teams

Each year thousands of students from around the world participate in FIRST LEGO League (FLL) and FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC). These programs are aimed at getting young students (FLL is for ages 9-14 and FTC is for high school students) excited about science, technology, and engineering. Rockwell Collins has initiated the FIRST grant program to encourage participation. The grants place special emphasis on new teams, teams that include minority students and females, and teams from schools with a high percentage of students on free and reduced lunch programs. Funding levels will vary and may include amounts to cover the cost of the robot kit, registration, field setup kit, or a combination of items. (Rockwell Collins news link and grant application information)

Two AgE alumni receive awards

The Iowa Section of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) has named two Iowa State University alumni among its three 2010 award winners. Jacob M. Bolson (BSAgE’07), an application engineer for Hagie Manufacturing in Clarion, Iowa, received the Newcomer Engineer of the Year Award; and Dennis A. Bowman (BSAgE’78), manager for the 8000 Series tractor engineering at John Deere Product Engineering Center in Waterloo, received the Engineer of the Year award. (ASABE news link)

News and media spotlights

Iowa State Mini Baja Team hopes for better luck, better performance this year--May 14

Engineering reorganizes administrative units, eliminates positions--May 11

Iowa State engineers design power structures that help keep the lights on--May 11

Two minutes with Matt Frank--professor creating ‘printable’ replacement parts, connecting CAD software with fabrication machines--May 5

Wind group cheers Iowa, challenges nation’s leaders--April 29

College eliminates special course fees in 22 classes--April 28

Iowa State’s Gschneidner delivers a message to Congress--April 23

International experience pays off for engineering students--April 22

Tornado research is part of exhibit at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry--April 19

Engineering students travel to Africa to build stoves--April 19

E-News is distributed by Engineering Communications.
If you have questions or news items to suggest, please contact Mary Jo Glanville at or call 515 294-8787.
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